Popular Recreational Areas in El Paso, TX
Culturally rich and historically significant, El Paso, Texas, boasts 297 sunny days in the year and offers vast and vivid desert landscapes as far as the eye can see.
El Paso is a border town, and its proximity to its sister city, Juarez, Chihuahua, makes it a unique and exciting city to enjoy.
Whether you are looking for authentic Mexican food to scarf down or an incredible mountain range to hike up and down—life in El Paso has got it all.
Here are the most popular recreational areas in El Paso, Texas:
Franklin Mountains State Park
Officially one of the largest state parks in the nation and located within the city’s limits, the Franklin Mountains have over 51 different trails that you can hike or bike.
The park is open year-round and is a central part of life in El Paso; everyone can take advantage of the 297 sunny days of the year to explore the great outdoors that Texas has to offer.
However, you don’t have to hike if you don’t want to—these mountains offer stunning views that locals love to take in on a scenic drive or park on one of the many parking areas to watch El Paso’s iconic sunsets. These mountains are an important recreational area in El Paso for all who live here and visit.
Hueco Tanks is located at about a half-hour drive from the city’s center; it is a sacred desert sanctuary that people have been trekking to for more than a hundred years. Hueco tanks is an immense rock formation in the middle of the desert that features ancient cave drawings and art from the first humans that lived on that land. It has also become an incredibly popular place to rock climb and try your hand at bouldering (rock climbing without the equipment).
DOWNTOWN ARTS AND CULTURE
El Paso has a special collection of museums that are scattered around the small downtown area.
The El Paso Holocaust Museum, which was established by the Jewish community in the borderland, is a remarkable museum that has deeply moving and powerful exhibits that seek to combat racism in its most violent forms.
El Paso has a strong history of celebrating art—the El Paso Museum of Art is home to an extensive collection of extraordinary artwork from local and foreign artists. On view, they have art ranging from the Classical era to the Modern and Contemporary. The museum draws a sharp focus onto Chicanx artists and their exhibits that shine an important light on the beauty of their culture.
The El Paso Museum of History is a fascinating museum that has been recently renovated and modernized to better educate the El Paso community and visitors on the borderland’s important place in history. Learn all about Texas as well as El Paso’s history through virtual and interactive exhibits that are fun for all ages.
The Plaza Theatre in downtown El Paso is officially a National Historic Building of Significance that has been in use as an elegant theatre for almost 100 years. The architecture is of Spanish Colonial influence and features stunning hand-painted ceilings, and intricate mosaic-tiled floors. It is one of the few remaining atmospheric theaters in the United States, a theatre that gives the illusion that when seated and watching a show you feel like you are watching outside under the stars. World-class artists and all types of shows play at the Plaza year-round.
The Abraham Chavez Theatre is a more modern theatre that is much larger than the Plaza but is still an important feature of life in El Paso. The architecture of the building resembles a large sombrero which makes it a hallmark of the El Paso skyline and landscape.
ICONIC RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Be a part of history and enjoy amazing food by visiting the historic restaurant, Café Central, an iconic institution that has been an important part of life in El Paso for 100 years. The beauty of the restaurant and delicious food has been written about in books and has been frequented by many famous artists that have visited El Paso.
For traditional Tex-Mex you can’t miss Lucy's Café which is a beloved El Paso restaurant that has been around since the 70’s—the locals swear by the machaca burritos.
For authentic Mexican cuisine, visit Amigos Restaurant. Authentic Mexican food is not hard to come by in El Paso, but Amigos does it the best. This is a restaurant that prides itself on being family-run and has been feeding generations of El Pasoans for decades.
El Paso has a historic downtown that has focused on conserving old buildings and maintaining the integrity of the businesses they house. The bars in downtown El Paso make up a special recreational area in El Paso; they all have their own unique character and personality, some, like The Tap which has been open since the 50’s are nestled between old historic buildings. While others, like Later Later and Lost and Found, operate out of cute, old houses that have been standing for decades.